You know, these people who know what they’re doing and are able to calculate the right price for good things:
The Department of Energy and Climate Change set out plans to guarantee new solar farms built in 2017-18 a price of £110 for every ‘megawatt-hour’ (MWh) unit of power they generate – about twice the current market price.
The figure was £5 less than it had initially offered in draft plans, but the industry said it was still unnecessarily generous.
But the STA said it had told the government it only needed £99/MWh in 2017-18 – meaning DECC’s proposals will leave consumer paying 10 per cent too much.
Subsidies for 2018-19 were 9 per cent more generous than the industry had asked for while those for 2016-17 were 4 per cent too high.
It’s not just that telling everyone what to do is unnecessarily fascist it’s that the people who staff the State are just too damn dim to be given that sort of Courageous power over the rest of us.
Britain’s future economic prosperity and global standing is under threat because of an “alarming shortage” in the number of people who can speak a foreign language, according to research.
Figures show that just a quarter of adults can now hold even a basic conversation with someone in a language other than English.
French is the most commonly spoken foreign language in the UK – used by 15 per cent of people – followed by just over one-in-20 who can understand German.
But almost every other major language such as Mandarin, Arabic and Japanese is alien to the vast majority of English speakers in Britain.
The research, commissioned by the British Council, also revealed that UK schoolchildren are now less likely to speak a foreign language than those in any other European nation.
Folks, your job is to project our culture to them.
Running a survey on how many of Johnny Foreigner speak English would be well within your remit. As would be suggesting that more be done to teach them the English English variant.
However, just as with the Foreign Office, the sort of people who go off to spread our culture to the foreigns tend to be those who are rather more enamoured of the culture of the foreigns than the one they’re supposed to be spreading. Thus we get this sort of nonsense. Britain must be more like the places where you need three languages to get through to lunchtime (something that has happened to me just recently).
Get back to what you’re supposed to be doing, not what you’d like to be doing.
Via Twitter I am sent this excellent looking report (in French) which looks at the percentage of people in various other countries that have some command of English.
That’s the sort of thing the British Council should be worrying about.
This is ridiculous:
Yes, it was foolish in the extreme for Nadhim Zahawi MP to outsource his expense claims to his staff, and not scrutinise why they were so high. It’s what people sometimes do when they’re incredibly busy, but that’s no excuse. At a time of austerity, with the cost of living ever on the up, this brings all MPs, and indeed Parliament itself, into even greater disrepute. No one could condone it.
But it would be madness if this anger, however justifiable in the present case, had the effect of driving people like Nadhim Zahawi out of politics. Let’s be clear: Nadhim is a friend and colleague of mine. I have only known him properly since we entered Parliament in 2010, but I suspect it is clear to anyone who knows him that this is a good and honourable man.
Perhaps three and half years isn’t long enough for Our Jesse to work out that all that Hon Member and Right Hon Member stuff is in fact that very British sense of sarcasm coming out. For as is obvious to everyone no one actually honourable would be capable of being elected to Parliament. Thieves, spivs and twisters the lot of ‘em.
And quite remarkably the comments section seems to agree…..
Three-bedroom homes are being condemned to demolition by housing associations because the coalition’s bedroom tax has made them too expensive for tenants to live in, the Observer can reveal.
Despite a national property shortage, providers of affordable homes are unable to find people who can meet the cost of living in a home with an extra bedroom and are, in some cases, planning demolitions. In Liverpool, one housing provider, Magenta Living, has admitted that “with changes to welfare benefits there is very little prospect of letting upper three-bedroom maisonettes in the current climate”.
In a letter to Alison McGovern, the Labour MP for Wirral South, Magenta says one such block of flats will be “emptied with a view to subsequent demolition” because of the inability to let them out, sell them or keep up with the costs of keeping them unlived in.
Coast and Country Housing, a housing association in north-east England that has 10,190 homes, has also reported a huge increase in the number of empty homes and announced that demolitions are now feasible.
If we’re going to knock down houses simply because no one wants to live in them then it’s really very difficult to say that we’ve got a shortage of housing, isn’t it?
And if you want to claim instead that it’s all about people not being able to afford such housing then just stop and think for a moment. Haven’t these people ever heard of lowering the rent for fuck’s sake?
Two of America’s top Navy intelligence admirals have been placed on leave in a major escalation of a federal bribery probe in which officers are accused of selling military secrets in exchange for cash, prostitutes and Lady Gaga concert tickets.
Vice Admiral Ted Branch and Rear Admiral Bruce Loveless have also been stripped of access to classified information pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations of improper business relations with Leonard Francis, chief executive of the Singapore-based maritime contracting firm Glenn Defence Marine.
It’s all about maintenance, refuelling and victualling. Something which has been corrupt for about as long as anyone has had a navy actually.
But it’s perhaps one of the most popular policies recently:
More than 18,000 households have had benefits capped, including 300 claimants who were receiving more than £40,000 a year, the first official figures to be released since the introduction of tougher rules show.
Dozens of families were receiving benefit payments equivalent to a salary of almost £70,000 a year until the implementation of the Coalition’s welfare cap.
The most popular of course being the cap on housing benefits. Which, you will recall, started out with people thinking that, well, capping HB at 400 a month might be a bit harsh actually, can’t get much for that these days. Then the other shoe dropped and everyone realised it was 400 per week. What? You mean people can get more in bennies than I friggin’ earn?
People just hadn’t known how far the welfare state had gone in splashing the cash.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel phoned United States President Barack Obama on Wednesday to discuss suspicions that she may have been targeted by US intelligence agencies for years, SPIEGEL has learned. The chancellor asked for a thorough explanation of serious indications that US intelligence agencies had declared her private mobile phone to be a target in their operations.
Shouldn’t she have used the phone, placed some fake information in the call, then seen what the Americans did?
Greek lawmakers voted late on Tuesday to suspend state funding for political parties accused of criminal activities, a measure targeting the Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn group.
The proposal was backed by the conservative-led governing coalition, the main opposition and a small left wing party – and was voted 235-0 in the 300 seat assembly.
It allows an indefinite funding freeze for parties whose leadership is charged with involvement in a criminal group, or terrorism.
Not that I particularly want to defend Golden Dawn who really are grotty little fascists. But note that they have only been accused, not tried and most certainly not convicted. Yet they can get their lifeblood of funds cut off just by a vote of their competitors in politics.
Which is the problem with the state funding of politics. It will be the state who decides who is worthy enough to be in politics.
Pushy parents who want to dictate how their child is educated should send them to private school, not set up a free one
Why’s that then?
You know, given that they’ve already paid the taxes to have their children educated?
Sebelius, incidentally, is the first daughter of a governor to be elected governor in American history. She has a liberal arts BA and a master’s in Public Administration. The CMS Chief Operating Officer is Michelle Snyder who holds advanced degrees in Clinical Psychology and Legal Studies and Administration. She has been a manager in the HHS budget office and had assignments with the Office of Management and Budget, Congress, the Social Security Administration, and as a management consultant in the private sector.
I’m sure liberal arts majors and management consultants have an important role to play in modern society. That role does not, apparently, include being in charge of a major IT project. Not only are they incompetent to run it, it seems that they are incompetent to appoint someone competent to run it. Personally, I’d have started with Richard Granger,, ex-head of the UK NHS Connecting for Health program that pissed £10-15 billion down the drain for no result. Yes, his track record is beyond absymal – on the other hand, a) he now knows first-hand all the mistakes you shouldn’t make and b) when you announce his appointment the expectations on your project will plunge so low that even delivering a badly-working underperforming system will impress people.
Hopper is of course correct here. She has been known to drink Nick Luke’s beer which is always a sign of intelligence and good sense.
Federal officials did not permit testing of the Obamacare healthcare.gov website or issue final system requirements until four to six days before its Oct. 1 launch, according to an individual with direct knowledge of the project.
You would be hoping for 4-6 months of testing such a system really.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, they seem to have violated every single one of the rules for best practice in software development.
So much for the technocrats being able to design technocratic solutions to societal problems, eh?
The Trussell figures show that one in five food parcel receipients – 65,177 people – were referred to its foodbanks as a result of changes to their benefits in the first half of this year, compared with 14,897 (14%) during the same period last year. Delays in the payment of benefits resulted in 117,442 people (35%) being referred between April and the end of September, compared with 35,597 (33%) in the same period in 2012-13.
So, the largest contributor to the use of food banks is the fact that government is crap at doing what government sets out to do: get cash into the hands of the poor.
Sure, changes in benefits aren’t helping here: but twice the demand comes from the fact that government can’t in fact process a payment in under 8 weeks. They’re just fucking incompetent.
And this is, of course, taken as evidence that more should be done by that incompetent government and less should be done by that highly efficient private charitable effort.
If the aim is the alleviation of poverty shouldn’t we be celebrating and reinforcing those who do so and castigating those, taking resources away from those, who are proven to be total cocknobbins at the task?
Social mobility in England is among the worst of all developed nations because children from deprived backgrounds are less likely to get a good education, the OECD report said.
Children born to parents with a poor education were eight times more likely to struggle with literacy than those from a well-educated family.
In one claim in the dossier, a female journalist said: “A director offered me any promotion I liked should I agree to Tuesday evenings for drinks/meals at his place (a cottage provided for him out in the countryside).
“I naturally declined but another temporary marketing manager, covering maternity leave, accepted and she was given the job on a permanent basis.”
An explanation for some of the dreck that gets produced then. For surely some of them are there for skills unrelated to journalism or even entertainment in its narrower sense.
What is the shutdown all about?
In a word, money. The US financial year ends at midnight on Monday. Under US law a new bill to approve funding for the next financial year is required, which must have been approved by the House of Representatives, and the Senate, and the president. This has yet to happen.
In two words, politics and Obamacare. The core problem is that the Republican party controls the lower house, or House of Representatives, while the Democrats control the Senate.
It’s a bit like the King having to come to Parliament for supply, isn’t it? And he needs the agreement of the Commons. I’m pretty sure lefties regard that as one of the glorious steps to a brighter Whiggish future. Seems odd that it’s not so regarded when the same system reduces the cash they get to play with.
Conclusion: the ACA exchanges are going to be one more example of government IT projects than run horribly over-budget and deliver (at best) a barely-working unmaintainable system. It’s great news for IT contractors and for large project-managing firms like EDS, Lockheed-Martin etc., but the taxpayers are really going to get it in the shorts.
And Hopper does know his onions on this.
I’m actually sitting here wondering how bad a car crash these state insurance exchanges are going to be. Could they actually be as bad as the NHS IT system?
In fact, I’m wondering whether they will actually work at all. Anyo9ne know o want to make a prediction?
I think we’ve got another one coming down the pike. And this will be a doozy, able to rival the NHS system.
Obamacare’s online insurance exchanges.
Do keep me posted with any details you might know about how bad this is going to be.